Kaya Rose Scodelario-Davis (née Humphrey; 13 March 1992) is an English actress. She is known for her roles as Effy Stonem on the E4 teen drama Skins (2007–2010, 2013), Teresa in The Maze Runner film series (2014–2018), Carina Smyth in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017) and Haley Keller in Crawl (2019). Other film roles include Catherine Earnshaw in Andrea Arnold’s Wuthering Heights (2011) and Carol Ann Boone, wife of Ted Bundy, in the thriller Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019).
Scodelario was born Kaya Rose Humphrey in Haywards Heath, England. Her mother, Katia Scodelario, is a Brazilian from Itu, São Paulo, who moved to England in 1990; Scodelario’s surname comes from her mother’s Italian grandfather. Her father, Roger Humphrey (died 22 November 2010), was British.Scodelario’s parents divorced when she was a child and she was raised in London by her mother, subsequently adopting her surname and becoming fluent in Portuguese.
In 2007, at the age of 14 and with no acting experience, Scodelario was cast in the first series of Skins as Effy Stonem. At the auditions, Scodelario became discouraged as she felt she was too young, but a producer told her to stay and she was asked to read for the part. While Scodelario’s role in the first series had minimal speaking lines, her character developed considerably during 2008. She eventually became the central character in the 2009 and 2010 series after the cast had been replaced with a new generation of characters. This made Effy one of the only characters to appear from series 1 all the way through to series 4. Filming began in July and Scodelario said that 18 November 2009 was her last day of filming the series and that she would miss being on the show.
Scodelario left after the fourth series, making way for the third generation of characters. Her performance was praised by critics, and she was nominated twice for Best Actress at the TV Quick Awards, in 2009 and 2010. In the episode “Fire”, one of three parts of the seventh (and final) season of Skins, Scodelario reprised the role of Effy. It is a two-part depiction of her life as an adult, lasting two hours. She claims “Fire” is “more like a movie” and that she could relate to Effy’s struggle to change from a teenager into an adult.
2009–2012: Film projects
Scodelario made her film debut in the science fiction-thriller film Moon, which premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, receiving positive reviews. In her second film, Shank, she plays a teenager, Tasha. The film was released on 26 March 2010. In addition, she appeared in the 2010 remake of Clash of the Titans as Peshet.
She appears in the music videos for “Stay Too Long”, “She Said”, “Love Goes Down”, and “Writing’s on the Wall” by English musician Plan B. She can also be seen in the video for “Old Isleworth” by The Ruskins and Robbie Williams’ 2012 single, “Candy”.
In April 2010, Scodelario confirmed her casting as Cathy in an adaptation of Wuthering Heights directed by Andrea Arnold. Principal photography started in September and concluded in November 2010. The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival in September 2011 to generally positive reviews, and Scodelario was hailed as a “heart-wrenching revelation”. Wuthering Heights also played at several other international film festivals, including the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival, the London Film Festival, and the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. The film was released in the UK on 11 November.
In 2011, she signed on to play Sally Weaver in a British thriller, Twenty8k. Filming lasted six weeks during April and May 2011. The film was released in September 2012. In late June, Scodelario announced that she had signed on to star in Now Is Good with Dakota Fanning. The film is based on Jenny Downham’s novel Before I Die, about a teenage girl with leukaemia who makes a list of things to do before she dies. She portrays Zoey, the protagonist’s best friend. Production was shot in seven weeks in July and August. In late September 2011, Scodelario filmed a television serial for BBC One, True Love, an improvised series comprising five stand-alone episodes, each covering a different love-related dilemma. She is cast in the third storyline as Karen, the love interest of her teacher, portrayed by Billie Piper. The episode aired on 19 June 2012.
In January 2012, Scodelario made her first American film, The Truth About Emanuel, in Los Angeles. She stars as the title character, Emanuel, a troubled 17-year-old girl who babysits her new neighbour Linda’s “baby”, which is actually a very lifelike doll. It had a limited Release on 10 January 2014. While visiting her boyfriend on the set of Spike Island in April, Scodelario shot a cameo appearance for the film. She also participated in an advertising campaign for Korean jewelry brand J. Estina. In 2013 she starred in the four-part Channel 4 drama series Southcliffe, which tells the story of a fictional English town devastated by a spate of shootings, exploring the tragedy through the eyes of a journalist and those close to the victims.
2013–present: The Maze Runner series
She signed on to the film franchise The Maze Runner in April 2013 as the lead female character, Teresa, in the first film, based on the novel of the same name by James Dashner released in September 2014, and its sequel, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, released in September 2015. She starred in lead roles in the home-invasion thriller Tiger House in 2015 and the film adaptation of The Kings Daughter, however after production wrapped in 2014 this film is still yet to be released. She also had a starring role in the sequel Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, released on 26 May 2017.
Scodelario reprised the role of Teresa in Maze Runner: The Death Cure. The film was set for release on 17 February 2017, but after her co-star Dylan O’Brien was injured on set, the film was pushed back to 26 January 2018. That year brought three new projects for Scodelario. The first, released in May 2019, was Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, about serial killer Ted Bundy, where she portrays his wife Carole Ann Boone. The second has Scodelario play the lead in Alexandre Aja’s latest horror film, Crawl, which was filmed in Belgrade, and released in July 2019, to positive reviews. The third is yet to be formally announced, but the mystery project was filmed in Lithuania. Scodelario then signed up to lead a new Netflix series, an edgy figure skating drama called Spinning Out in 2019. In Spring 2019, Scodelario became the face of Cartier’s new jewelry line, Clash de Cartier, and filmed the latest Agatha Christie miniseries adaptation, The Pale Horse, for Amazon and BBC
From 2008 to 2010, Scodelario lived alone in a flat in North London, saying that it is important for women to be “independent and strong”.
Scodelario dated her Skins co-star Jack O’Connell for about a year before they split up in June 2009, remaining good friends.
She was in a relationship with Elliott Tittensor from late 2009 to early 2014. During their relationship, she supported Tittensor after his arrest for hitting someone while driving an uninsured car.
She was voted 13th in the UK edition of FHM’s 100 World’s Sexiest Women 2010.
Scodelario has dyslexia and tweeted in 2010, “Watching an interesting doc on BBC Three about dyslexia, something that I have struggled with my whole life. It really affected my self-esteem.”
In April 2014, during the filming of The King’s Daughter (formerly known as The Moon and the Sun), Scodelario began dating her co-star, Benjamin Walker. They became engaged on 28 December 2014, and married in December 2015. Their son was born in November 2016. Actor Daniel Kaluuya is her son’s godfather.
In October 2017, as part of the #MeToo movement, Scodelario revealed that she had been sexually assaulted thirteen years prior by somebody who is protected by “family members” in Brazil.